William Edwards Deming October 14, — December 20, was an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant.
Educated initially as an electrical engineer and later specializing in mathematical physics , he helped develop the sampling techniques still used by the U. Department of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That was in response to the growing popularity of PDCA , which Deming viewed as tampering with the meaning of Shewhart's original work. Many in Japan credit Deming as one of the inspirations for what has become known as the Japanese post-war economic miracle of to , when Japan rose from the ashes of war on the road to becoming the second-largest economy in the world through processes partially influenced by the ideas Deming taught: .
Edwards Deming, preface and his system of thought he called the "System of Profound Knowledge". The system includes four components or "lenses" through which to view the world simultaneously:. Deming made a significant contribution to Japan's reputation for innovative, high-quality products, and for its economic power.
He is regarded as having had more impact on Japanese manufacturing and business than any other individual not of Japanese heritage.
Life and career
Despite being honored in Japan in with the establishment of the Deming Prize, he was only just beginning to win widespread recognition in the U. Both graduate degrees were in mathematics and physics. He later worked at the U. Department of Agriculture and the Census Department. While working under Gen. Douglas MacArthur as a census consultant to the Japanese government, he was asked to teach a short seminar on statistical process control SPC methods to members of the Radio Corps, at the invitation of Homer Sarasohn.
During this visit, he was contacted by the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers JUSE to talk directly to Japanese business leaders, not about SPC, but about his theories of management, returning to Japan for many years to consult.
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Deming played the flute and drums and composed music throughout his life, including sacred choral compositions and an arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner. In , he founded the W. Library of Congress includes an extensive audiotape and videotape archive. The aim of the institute is to "Enrich society through the Deming philosophy. Deming's teachings and philosophy are clearly illustrated by examining the results they produced after they were adopted by Japanese industry, as the following example shows.
Ford Motor Company was simultaneously manufacturing a car model with transmissions made in Japan and the United States.
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Soon after the car model was on the market c. As both transmissions were made to the same specifications, Ford engineers could not understand the customer preference for the model with Japanese transmissions. Finally, Ford engineers decided to take apart the two different transmissions. The American-made car parts were all within specified tolerance levels.
However, the Japanese car parts were virtually identical to each other, and much closer to the nominal values for the parts—e.
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This made the Japanese cars run more smoothly and customers experienced fewer problems. He was the son of William Albert Deming and Pluma Irene Edwards,  His parents were well-educated and emphasized the importance of education to their children. Pluma had studied in San Francisco and was a musician. William Albert had studied mathematics and law. He was a direct descendant of John Deming ,  — an early Puritan settler and original patentee of the Connecticut Colony , and Honor Treat, the daughter of Richard Treat — , an early New England settler, deputy to the Connecticut Legislature and also a patentee of the Royal Charter of Connecticut, Deming married Agnes Bell in She died in , a little more than a year after they had adopted a daughter, Dorothy Deming made use of various private homes to help raise the infant, and following his marriage in to Lola Elizabeth Shupe - , with whom he coauthored several papers, he brought her back home to stay.
W. Edwards Deming
Lola and he had two more children, Diana b. Deming was survived by Diana and Linda, along with seven grandchildren. Deming was a professor of statistics at New York University's graduate school of business administration — , and taught at Columbia University 's graduate school of business — He also was a consultant for private business.
In , Deming was introduced to Walter A. Shewhart of the Bell Telephone Laboratories by C. Deming found great inspiration in the work of Shewhart, the originator of the concepts of statistical control of processes and the related technical tool of the control chart , as Deming began to move toward the application of statistical methods to industrial production and management. Shewhart's idea of common and special causes of variation led directly to Deming's theory of management.
Deming saw that these ideas could be applied not only to manufacturing processes, but also to the processes by which enterprises are led and managed. This key insight made possible his enormous influence on the economics of the industrialized world after One reason he learned so much from Shewhart, Deming remarked in a videotaped interview, was that, while brilliant, Shewhart had an "uncanny ability to make things difficult.
Deming developed the sampling techniques that were used for the first time during the U. Census, formulating the Deming-Stephan algorithm for iterative proportional fitting in the process. He worked with H. Dodge, A. Ashcroft, Leslie E. Simon, R. Statistical methods were widely applied during World War II, but faded into disuse a few years later in the face of huge overseas demand for American mass-produced products.
In , Deming was involved in early planning for the Japanese Census. The Allied powers were occupying Japan , and he was asked by the United States Department of the Army to assist with the census. He was brought over at the behest of General Douglas MacArthur , who grew frustrated at being unable to complete so much as a phone call without the line going dead due to Japan's shattered postwar economy. While in Japan, his expertise in quality-control techniques, combined with his involvement in Japanese society, brought him an invitation from the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers JUSE.
JUSE members had studied Shewhart's techniques, and as part of Japan's reconstruction efforts, they sought an expert to teach statistical control. He also conducted at least one session for top management including top Japanese industrialists of the likes of Akio Morita , the cofounder of Sony Corp.
Hakone Conference Center in August A number of Japanese manufacturers applied his techniques widely and experienced heretofore unheard-of levels of quality and productivity.
The improved quality combined with the lowered cost created new international demand for Japanese products.
Deming declined to receive royalties from the transcripts of his lectures, so JUSE's board of directors established the Deming Prize December to repay him for his friendship and kindness. The citation on the medal recognizes Deming's contributions to Japan's industrial rebirth and its worldwide success. The first section of the meritorious service record describes his work in Japan: .
The second half of the record lists his service to private enterprise through the introduction of epochal ideas, such as quality control and market survey techniques. Among his many honors, an exhibit memorializing Deming's contributions and his famous Red Bead Experiment is on display outside the board room of the American Society for Quality.
He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Later, from his home in Washington, DC, Deming continued running his own consultancy business in the United States, largely unknown and unrecognized in his country of origin and work. Why can't we?
As a result of the broadcast, demand for his services increased dramatically, and Deming continued consulting for industry throughout the world until his death at the age of Ford Motor Company was one of the first American corporations to seek help from Deming. In , Ford's sales were falling. Ford's newly appointed Corporate Quality Director, Larry Moore, was charged with recruiting Deming to help jump-start a quality movement at Ford. To Ford's surprise, Deming talked not about quality, but about management.
In , Ford came out with a profitable line of cars, the Taurus-Sable line. In a letter to Autoweek , Donald Petersen , then Ford chairman, said, "We are moving toward building a quality culture at Ford and the many changes that have been taking place here have their roots directly in Deming's teachings.
For the first time since the s, its earnings had exceeded those of archrival General Motors GM. Ford had come to lead the American automobile industry in improvements. Ford's following years' earnings confirmed that its success was not a fluke, for its earnings continued to exceed GM and Chrysler's.
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In it, he offers a theory of management based on his famous 14 Points for Management. Management's failure to plan for the future brings about loss of market, which brings about loss of jobs. Management must be judged not only by the quarterly dividend, but also by innovative plans to stay in business, protect investment, ensure future dividends, and provide more jobs through improved products and services.
The timid and the fainthearted, and the people that expect quick results, are doomed to disappointment. In , the institute trained consultants of Ernst and Whinney Management Consultants in the Deming teachings. His methods and workshops regarding Total Quality Management have had broad influence. For example, they were used to define how the U.
Over the course of his career, Deming received dozens of academic awards, including another, honorary, PhD from Oregon State University. In , he was awarded the National Medal of Technology : "For his forceful promotion of statistical methodology, for his contributions to sampling theory, and for his advocacy to corporations and nations of a general management philosophy that has resulted in improved product quality.
Deming and his staff continued to advise businesses large and small. From through , Deming served as a consultant to Vernay Laboratories, a rubber manufacturing firm in Yellow Springs, Ohio, with fewer than 1, employees.
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He held several week-long seminars for employees and suppliers of the small company where his infamous example "Workers on the Red Beads" spurred several major changes in Vernay's manufacturing processes. In , during his last year, he founded the W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity, and Competitiveness at Columbia Business School to promote operational excellence in business through the development of research, best practices and strategic planning.
It also contained educational concepts involving group-based teaching without grades, as well as management without individual merit or performance reviews.
W Edwards Deming
Deming died in his sleep at the age of 93 in his Washington home from cancer on December 20, Edwards Deming taught that by adopting appropriate principles of management, organizations can increase quality and simultaneously reduce costs by reducing waste, rework, staff attrition and litigation while increasing customer loyalty. The key is to practice continual improvement and think of manufacturing as a system, not as bits and pieces.
In the s, Deming's philosophy was summarized by some of his Japanese proponents [ citation needed ] with the following "a"-versus-"b" comparison:.